Office of Postdoctoral Affairs

Postdoctoral Trainee Policy Updates:

No faculty member is allowed to place a postdoctoral trainee on unpaid leave/furlough at this time for the reasons of COVID-19. It is expected that the postdoctoral mentors will work with the trainees to make plans for how to best work during this crisis.(Updated 4/8/20)

All postdoctoral trainees (scholars & fellows) are eligible for 3 weeks of sick leave and 3 weeks of vacation leave per fiscal year. Leave will be pro-rated appropriately for Postdoctoral trainees who do not begin on July 1st or who are not full-time. Postdoctoral trainees are not eligible to carry over vacation or sick leave to a new fiscal year nor will unused leave be paid out upon separation or transfer to another status. In the case of extenuating circumstances, review by the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs regarding extended leave may be considered on a case by case basis. Leave should be tracked in writing by both the post-doctoral trainee and the mentor. Further, Postdoctoral trainees may observe the University holidays.(Updated 4/20/20)

When working with the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs regarding Postdoctoral Trainee Salary, please complete the Salary Verification Form (PDF) and return to the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs at 4/20/20)

FAQ for Postdocs During COVID-19 Health Crisis

Research Concerns

Social distancing is designed to limit contact with others. It does not mean complete isolation from others. It is likely that you will have to report to the lab to maintain experiments, cell lines, lab animals. You should work with your PI to determine the optimal schedules for you and your fellow lab mates. If the CDC recommends more stringent social limitations, you will need to work with your PI with regard to working from home game plans. MUSC may require you to provide documentation of work you complete at home. Since you will still be working, you will continue to be paid.

Your PI was required to create a contingency plan for your lab during this time of social isolation and hopefully has been communicating that plan with you. If you have not received guidance, do not continue to report to work without discussing what the plan for your lab is now! We expect that PI's are being flexible, compassionate and creative with their plan for managing the lab. But it is your responsibility to work with your PI to manage this crisis. Contact your PI immediately with questions about your research responsibilities moving forward.

All research is predicated on learning and applying new techniques, reviewing literature, writing up research results, analyzing data, planning new experiments. Many of these activities can be adapted to work at home situations. Please work with your PI to develop a work at home plan that includes data analysis, literature review, etc., immediately!

Depending on your funding source, you will need to coordinate with your Institutional Administrator to determine what if any reporting variances you will need to complete. Since this will be a widespread issue, NIH and other funding sources have been and will continue to provide information related to continued funding. Contact SCTR or your business administrator for details related to this issue or review the NIH website for details about your particular grant award.

Health Concerns

Social distancing means staying away from other people in order to prevent the spread of the COVID 19 virus. You need to limit your interactions with others face to face to no closer than 6 feet. You need to stay at home and work remotely if at all possible. 

Research activities and overall university operations are continuing at this time, but are currently limited to only necessary maintenance of research. This includes managing cell lines, caring for animals and maintenance of sensitive equipment. If you are required to go into the lab, only one or two personnel should be reporting at a time and social distancing should be observed at all time. You should be coordinating closely with your PI regarding these issues. The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs will update you as more information becomes available related to Postdoctoral Trainees. Please have patience during these unprecedented times.

If you are experiencing respiratory or flu-like symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever and/or cough, visit MUSC Virtual Urgent Care. MUSC recommends you speak to an online virtual care provider. Virtual COVID-19 screenings are free. Just use the code COVID19 when you log in. An MUSC health care provider will assist you and give you clear instructions on your next steps including testing and safe management of your symptoms. If you are experiencing life-threatening symptoms, access emergency medical care immediately. If you are diagnosed with the virus, immediately contact your PI/mentor to inform them of your diagnosis so that they can share this information with your lab mates. Follow all the health care providers recommendations related to isolation and care of yourself and your family.

If you have concerns related to your VISA or other international issues, please contact:

Erin Huley
Immigration Program Coordinator
Center for Global Health

Most MUSC offices have moved to online platforms to complete their work. Please have patience while we all adjust to our new normal.


The Dean of the College of Graduate Studies created the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs in October 2005 in order to better address the unique needs of postdoctoral trainees. The initial goals were the revitalization of the dormant Postdoctoral Association, the evaluation of postdoctoral policies and resources, counseling of postdoctoral scholars in matters of career development, and serve as representation for MUSC postdoctoral training on the national level.


There are currently 175 postdoctoral trainees at MUSC, approximately 60 percent of which are US or permanent residents and 40 percent internationals. Gender distribution is 44 percent male and 56 percent female. Of the US postdocs, 11 percent come from underrepresented ethnic or racial groups. The current postdoctoral population has been at MUSC an average of 2.2 years, with this being the first postdoctoral appointment for the majority. Approximately 25 percent of MUSC postdocs are supported by either individual fellowships or NIH T32 training grants.


The Office of Postdoctoral Affairs (OPA) consists of the Associate Dean for Postdoctoral Affairs. The Associate Dean approves all postdoctoral appointments. All mentors must have Graduate Faculty status. Funding for the OPA comes from the College of Graduate Studies and supports workshops and activities of the MUSC Postdoctoral Association (PDA). The Associate Dean advises postdocs on issues of career development, approaches for resolving conflicts with their mentor, or any general professional or administrative issue.

Additional Information

Listing of Current Postdoctoral Positions at MUSC

MUSC Diversity Information

Resources for Current Postdocs

MUSC Postdoctoral Association (PDA)

Hal May PhD 

Faculty Liaison
Hal May, Ph.D.
Professor, Microbiology & Immunology